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Scott's Law / Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle

Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle/Scott's Law

Under Illinois law, serious penalties exist for violations that occur when a driver approaches a stationary emergency vehicle. Also known as "Scott's Law" or the "Move Over Law", the law requires that upon approaching a stationary police or emergency vehicle using audible or visual signals, you must:

  • Proceed with due caution
  • If possible, yield the right-of-way by making a full lane change not adjacent to the police or emergency vehicle
  • If changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe, you must proceed with due caution, reduce your speed, and leave a safe distance until you are past the emergency vehicle.

Drivers must take these actions for any vehicle authorized to be equipped with oscillating, rotating or flashing lights (i.e. police vehicles, ambulances, firetrucks, and tow trucks). The full statute can be found under the Illinois Vehicle Code - 625 ILCS 5/11-907(c).

Scott's Law Fines

A violation of Scott's Law is punishable by high minimum mandatory fines and court assessments:

  • 1st offense: Fine of $250 - $10,000 + $250 to the Scott's Law Fund + mandatory court costs
  • 2nd offense Fine of $750 - $10,000 + $250 to the Scott's Law Fund + mandatory court costs
Scott's Law Community Service

The law was amended in 2021 to allow the court to require the completion of community service hours by anyone convicted of violating Scott's Law. The specific number of community service hours the driver will be required to complete is at the court's discretion on a case by case basis.

Scott's Law License Suspensions

Furthermore, upon a report of conviction under this section, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend the offenders driver's license for a specified period of time if a violation of this statute results in property damage, personal injury or death to another as follows:

  • Property damage: 3-month license suspension
  • Personal injury: 12-month suspension
  • Death: 24-month license suspension
The period of suspension will be longer for a second or subsequent offense.

Scott's Law Criminal Penalties

Scott's Law is typically charged as a petty traffic offense and moving violation. However, if an accident involving property damage, personal injury or death occurs as a result of a Scott's Law violation, it can be charged as a criminal offense as follows:

  • Damage to another vehicle: Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to 1 year in jail)
  • Personal injury or death: Class 4 felony (punishable by 1-3 years in prison)

Illinois law also requires that every vehicle yield the right-of-way and stop as close as possible to the right side or curb upon the approach of a police or emergency vehicle using audible or visual signals and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. This law can be found in the Illinois Vehicle Code under 625 ILCS 5/11-907(a). Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle is a moving violation that is typically charged as a petty traffic offense.

Of course, even if an accident did not occur, a conviction can still count against your driving record and driving privileges and result in an increase to your insurance rates.

Scott's Law History

"Scott's Law" was passed by the Illinois legislature and named after a Chicago Fireman, Lieutenant Scott Gillen, who was tragically struck and killed by a driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway. The driver who hit Lieutenant Gillen was traveling in the lane immediately adjacent to where his emergency vehicle was parked while he was aiding motorists involved in an accident. Over the years, many more fatal accidents stemming from Scott's Law violations have occurred, prompting a tough stance from law enforcement agencies, legislators, prosecutors and judges alike. Efforts to educate the public about Scott's Law have increased as well. The law was most recently updated with enhanced penalties July of 2019.

Traffic Ticket Defense Attorneys

Our traffic attorneys are routinely contacted by drivers who were either unaware of the law or who were unfamiliar with the correct procedures to follow under such circumstances and, as a result, were issued a Scott Law ticket. Our attorneys strive to minimize the potential consequences and protect your driving privileges. If you have been charged with a Scott's Law violation or Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle, the defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. can help.

Our traffic ticket defense practice extends throughout the Chicago area including Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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